Sunday, December 31, 2006

I do not believe in writer's block

I really don't. I believe there are times when it is harder to write than other times, but I do not give credence to the theory that there is some sort of magical malady which attacks only writers.

I say this out loud to myself. "I do not believe in writer's block." Over the last couple of weeks, as I stare at the chapter heading for the next section of my new novel and write nothingnothingnothing, I repeat this a couple of times to myself.

Initially, this came out with confidence. I was Ray Parker Jr., informing anyone withing earshot of a radio in 1984: "I ain't 'fraid of no ghost!"

Now it comes out plaintively, like a little kid wandering through a forest at night. His flashlight has just failed, and he's banging it against his palm as he says: "There's no such thing as monsters." It sounds like a question.

In eighth grade, as a naive youngster, I believed this condition existed. I further believed that it could be easily cured by baking a batch of cookies while listening to Rubber Soul (actually, any Beatles album before Revolver would do the trick).

Now that I'm an adult, though, I recognize that this is about self-doubt and focus. And really mostly about focus. What with returning to work this months, the holidays, and the exhaustion wrought by NaNoWriMo, it's understandable that I might not write for a month or so.

Nevertheless, I have cookie dough in my fridge, and that's all I can think about at the moment.

Beep-beep, mmm-beep-beep, yeah.


nmj said...

I think I believe in writer's guilt more than writer's block - if you are in the process of writing something that you are truly passionate about, I think you don't get blocked, the writing will always come somehow, but you do feel huge guilt when you avoid doing that writing.

The Moon Topples said...

I think you may be right, NMJ. I wonder if blockage of the other sort is related to losing the passion, or having got away from the point you were passionate about writing in the first place. I intend to read carefully to see if that's what's been stopping me, or if I'm just lazy.

Liz Dwyer said...

I know too well those days when I end up writing, "This is stupid. I have no ideas. What were you thinking? That you could be a writer?" over and over again in my notebook. I agree with nmj about the guilt and I think it's also fear that if I write what I really want to write, it won't sell, my mom will hate me, my dad will be disappointed...and on and on.

The Moon Topples said...

Liz: Self-censorship is always a problem for me as well. Whenever I write something that takes me a little outside of the person people already know, I get a bit nervous. Hopefully, as I keep going, I'll get less restrained. I have to remind myself that I'm only six months into a plan to write that I imagined would take me 5 years to fulfil. And that I'm way ahead of schedule by my original standards.